Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Monitoring the Rusty Red Click Beetle

 20th May 2011

Rusty Red Click Beetle

Deborah Harvey from Royal Holloway, University of London, would like your help in monitoring Elater ferrugineus, a large red click beetle hardly ever seen in this country.

Deborah says: "Elater ferrugineus is a large red click beetle. In this country it is hardly ever seen. However, last year, using the lure to be used in this trial ­ I managed to capture over 100 beetles in three places in Surrey alone! Therefore, this summer I would like your help to discover whether this elusive beetle really is very rare, or that it just hasn’t been spotted.

Monitoring will take place over a few weeks from early July and involves capture mark release trapping. No beetles will be harmed or killed the process and all will be released to allow them to mate, although they will mate in the traps. The beetle is approximately 2cm long are bright red with black antennae and legs and ridged wing cases. When it is held it clicks its body and flicks over!"

Where and how the trapping should be done

Deborah explains: "The trapping will comprise putting up a trap in an area where there are old trees, preferably , but not necessarily, in a woodland with deciduous trees. The trap and lure will be supplied with instructions for assembly.

The traps will need to be checked once a day, in the evening or early morning is best.The beetles should be removed from the trap, measured with a ruler , if possible, total length, this can be achieved by gently holding the beetle against a ruler and measuring the entire length of the body from tip of head to base of abdomen. It should then be marked on the wing cases with a marker pen, such as a Crayola metallic marker and released at a distance of approximately 25m from the trap at least. The beetles are fairly lively and therefore a holding trap will be needed to put them in after they have been marked. It is also a good idea to count them before the trap is opened in case any escape! Any other beetles trapped should be noted- particularly any other click beetles or chafers. Where possible a photo with scale of a coin should be taken of any unfamiliar beetles. "

If you feel you may be able to help please email Deborah direct

There will surely be someone among our 20,000 members who would like to help with this project.